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View the Timeline for Taking Action on the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Plan


Chesapeake Bay: 2009 Executive Order
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Chesapeake Bay BridgeIn May 2009, President Barack Obama issued an executive order for the federal government to take a more vigorous role in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. The order established a Federal Leadership Committee of senior officials from the EPA, the USDA and five other cabinet level departments. Their mandate is clear: Do what it takes to clean up the Bay - that means big changes to the programs and policies that affect farms and farmland.

Meeting Bay Goals will Bring Real Change to Chesapeake Agriculture

Key Challenges and Integrated Strategies
After meetings and listening sessions in August, the EPA and four federal departments submitted draft reports on the key challenges of Bay cleanup to the Federal Leadership committee and released the reports to the public. They will be combined into a single, integrated federal strategy, outlining the steps needed to restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Real Reductions, Big Change
With public support over the past 25 years, agricultural landowners have made significant contributions to a healthy Bay. Yet overall water quality goals have not been met and the draft reports estimate a further 44% overall reduction of nitrogen - 81 million pounds of it from farmland. Meeting these reductions means big changes in programs and policies. But it is also an opportunity to support the innovative solutions to improving water quality that farmers have been demonstrating.

Programs and Policies That Work for Farmers
Farmers and their land offer Bay Watershed communities fresh food and scenic landscapes, while stimulating local economies. But poorly crafted regulations can make it harder to operate and can eat into farmers' thin profits. Our region can't afford to lose its farms. Draft reports recommend that regulators partner with agriculture, but it's up to you to make sure that the Federal Leadership Committee creates programs and policies that work for farmers.

"EPA believes that maintaining the viability of agriculture is an essential component to sustaining ecosystems in the Bay. Environmentally sound farming is a preferred land use in the region and we are committed to strong partnerships." - EPA, 202(a) Water Quality Draft Report

Chesapeake Bay Executive Order Timeline

Following is a timeline of important dates in the Obama administration's overhaul of federal Chesapeake Bay cleanup. View a PDF version of the timeline.

May 12, 2009 Executive Order Issued by President Obama
August 2009 Listening Sessions in August
August 7

August 13

AFT convenes a meeting of Bay watershed farmers to talk with EPA

Agriculture Listening Session in Frederick, MD

September 10th

Draft Reports for Key Challenges Submitted to Federal Leadership Committee and Released to Public

September-November Draft Reports Open to Informal Comments
November 9th, 2009 Drafts Integrated into a Single Strategy by Federal Leadership Committee
November - December Public Forums Held to Discuss Draft Strategy and TMDL's Used to Measure Successful Pollution Reductions
November - February Federal Leadership Committee Strategy Open to Formal Written Comments
May 12th, 2010 Final Strategy and Annual Action Plan Released
May 12, 2011 Annual Action Plan and First Annual Progress Report Released
American Farmland Trust